Interviewing is a skill. The more you practice, the better you'll do.
Contact us to schedule a mock interview. Use Big Interview, our interview training system, to strengthen your interviewing skills anytime, from anywhere.
Before the Interview
Research the employer and reflect on your fit with the organization
- History, current position and future prospects. Begin with the employer’s website and proceed to trade journals, professional organizations and media coverage.
- Mission, culture, and challenges. Get a 360-degree perspective with these career exploration tools.
- The nature and format of the interview. Ask the recruiter if you will be meeting with a single individual from HR, the hiring manager, and/or potential co-workers. Will there be case questions (typical of consulting or technical interviews)?
Compare your employer research to your understanding of where you might fit in the organization. Similarly, is the organization a good fit for your skills and interests? How can you contribute to their goals, and would the work experience further your own goals? Why are you the best person for this job?
If you’ve done your homework – and you’re sincere about your interest – you’ll be prepared to differentiate yourself from your competition.
Remember your goals and the employer’s goals
- Describe your skills and experience that match the position
- Get information about the position and organization
- Determine whether the position is right for you
The employer’s goals:
- Determine whether you can do the job
- Assess your fit with the team/organization
- Sell the organization and position
Conduct informational interviewsSpeak with alumni and others who work at the organization or in the same industry. Find individuals in the Tufts University Career Network on LinkedIn and in Friedman School-specific LinkedIn groups such as the Tufts Friedman School Alumni Association (open to students too!), the Tufts Friedman PhD group, Friedman Business Link, and more.
Review your resumeBe prepared to discuss every bullet point, from prior jobs and internships to coursework, research, and community involvement.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
- Develop scripts to respond to typical questions.
- Rehearse your answers alone, with a trusted friend, or with a Friedman School Block Career Center Advisor in a mock interview to ensure a professional, articulate performance.
- Think of questions to ask the employer that will convey your research, interest and enthusiasm.
- Don’t postpone your practice! Allow enough time to improve based on feedback.
Choose your interview outfitReview proper interview attire for Men, Women, and those beyond the binary. Model your outfit for a friend at least two days ahead. Business attire is appropriate for all interviews, unless you’ve been instructed differently. You may note some interview attire guidelines portray traditional gender roles: Remember, you are the final judge of what will work for you. Job seekers should dress professionally for the gender they would choose to present at work or in gender-neutral attire. The most important consideration for appropriateness of attire is that clothes be professional, fit well, and be consistent with organizational culture.
Do a trial runTake a test drive if you are at all uncertain about how to get to the interview location. Consider unexpected factors such as traffic/public transport delays, parking, and/or money for meters. Check the weather and prepare accordingly.
Day of the Interview
- Arrive prepared. Bring extra copies of your resume in a portfolio and arrive 10-15 minutes early so you don’t appear rushed or hassled. The interview begins at the moment you cross an employer’s threshold, sometimes earlier. Behave respectfully toward everyone you meet, from administrative assistants to managers.
- Present a positive image. Greet the interviewer by name. Pay attention to nonverbal communication, especially eye contact and physical posture, and display energy and enthusiasm in a way that fits your personal style.
- Be ready for small talk. You’re being evaluated from many angles, including informal conversation. Watch your grammar and enunciation.
Keep up the momentum
- Ask questions when you need clarification or want to know more. Be sure you have a clear understanding of the job, the requirements and the challenges.
- Never criticize a former employer and don’t bring up salary or benefits in the first interview.
- Be prepared to discuss your qualifications as well as anything negative. Talk with a Friedman School Block Career Center Advisor for advice on how to address issues like a lack of related work experience or gaps in work history.
Conclude with confidence
- Remain enthusiastic and courteous. As the discussion ends, the interviewer is assessing your overall performance.
- Ask about next steps in the hiring process. Ask the interviewer when they you expect to be making a decision.
- Wrap up. Thank the recruiter for the opportunity to interview and request a business card. This will give you contact info for your thank you letter.
After the Interview
Capture the details while your memory is freshJot down the pertinent facts and make note of any questions.
Send thank you emails within 24 hours
- Email every person who interviewed you. Use the subject line “Thank you from [Your Name].” A handwritten/typed note may stand out in a positive way, but the employer won’t receive it as quickly, which could be risky.
- Mention specifics from your interview. For instance, “I enjoyed our discussion about [topic]” or “I appreciate the info you shared about [something you learned].”
- Reiterate your interest in the position. Remind the interviewer of the top skills you would bring to the job. Use this as an opportunity to clarify or to mention something you might have overlooked in the interview.
- Be professional. Ensure that your message is formal and professional.
Consider your next stepsDepending on the speed of the hiring process, you may want to make an additional follow-up call or send a message about 5-7 days after your interview. Talk with a Friedman School Block Career Center Advisor if you need help strategizing.